Using Climate Change to Develop a Global Lens in the Classroom

Would you like to introduce a global element to your classroom? Climate Change may be an answer to your problems (surprise!) Global Climate Change is happening now and will be a defining aspect of the childhood and adulthood of your students. Climate Change impacts are felt all over the world by a variety of people and places. It goes beyond the environment or polar ice caps and affects social and economic systems as well. As a result, climate change can be used in the classroom to get young changemakers thinking about the future while introducing them to the world outside their bubbles! Let look at how!

History/Social Studies

It is reasonable to wonder…..how did climate change begin and why? A common “starting” point is the industrial revolution beginning in Europe before it moved to America. Some relevant resources may include: 

Science

The foundation of climate change comprehension is science! The option here are wide, but here are a few suggestions: 

  • Introduce students to ice cores in the north and south poles and their role in creating models of Earth’s future climate. 
  • Learn the science of Greenhouse gas molecules and the carbon cycle and its role in the atmosphere. 
  • Put it all together and combine lessons on plant/soil/food science with this article discussing how a warmer climate can impact food across the world! 

Math

Numbers, the “universal language,” is necessary to use for measuring the impacts of climate change as well as climate change solutions. 

Reading/English 

  There are a number of news articles on climate change consequences and adaptations. Reading these is a great way to develop relevancy and a clear, real-world connection for students now. 

 Civics/Economics 

  Following environmental policies in the US and global summits are a great way to have students critically thinking about how climate change affects other populations within and outside of the U.S. 

  • This article points to how Climate Change lawsuits- with children as the plaintiffs- are surfacing and winning across the globe
  • Read more about the details of students’ successes in Columbia with climate justice.
  • Read more here and here about the highest-profile climate lawsuit in the United States today. 

This is just a shortlist of possibilities! For more resources, various age-appropriate lesson adaptations, and opportunities to provide a global context to your climate change or sustainability lessons, visit Sustainability Science Education on Pinterest.